Paul Henderson scored the game winning goal in the final game of the Summit Series? I do, it was the day that hockey grabbed me by the shorts and is still taking me for a ride this day. I was born and bred in Toronto, and even though I was just growing into a leaf fan I wasn't quite there yet. On September 28th, 1972, my dad and I were waiting on the Long Branch platform for the Go train to take us to Exhibition Stadium to see an Argo game. Now you may be asking yourselves why an insignificant CFL game over what was probably the most important hockey game in Canadian history? Well to answer that, you would have had to know my father, he was just as big an argos fan as he was a leafs fan and he had seasons tickets. I'm pretty sure it was agaisnt the Hamilton Tiger Cats (OSKIWEEE WEEEEE, someday someone will have to explain what that has to do with a tiger cat)
Funny I can remember the goal that Henderson scored and the pandemonium that ensued after, but for the life of me I can't be sure who the Argos were playing that day or even if they won. I didn't see the goal, but I damn sure heard it as the Go transit people had it piped through the platform speakers. I was 8 ok, so seeing all the big people jumping up and down, with genuine tears of joy streaming down their faces had a great big affect on me.
Shortly after, the train arrived and off to the argo game we went, on the short ride to the Ex I was asking my Dad all kinds of questions and none of them had anything to do with the argos. I was hooked, I had to know more about this game of hockey. I nearly blew my top when Dad told me that Paul Henderson played for the Leafs!! I was like "Really?!? The Toronto Maple Leafs, our Toronto Maple Leafs?!?"
It is safe to say that this is the day I became a card carrying member of Leafs Nation. I started collecting hockey cards, I started playing more street hockey, I paid more attention to the tv or the radio when ever there was a game on.
A few years later I got a job, a dream job, getting paid had very little to do with why I took this job. The job was easy, simple arithmetic was key, because I had to make sure I gave the proper change back to people who purchased ice cream bars in the stands at Maple Leaf Gardens. There was no resume, no application to fill out, you just show up, stand against the wall and a guy would come out and point to kids and hand them a change apron and send you in the direction of whatever you would be selling that night. He would then say to the ones not picked, scatter around the garden, don't hang in numbers, stay out of the way and watch the game.
This period of my life is among the top memories that I have, just below meeting the woman I would marry and the births of my 2 sons, but ahead of white water rafting and parachuting.
The last 10 minutes of game 8 of The Summit Series http://youtube.com/watch?v=2YzHG88B8Qo
Stay tuned for my next blog, My encounter with the Devil!!